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Unit information: Advanced Palaeobiology fieldwork in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Palaeobiology fieldwork
Unit code EASCM0062
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Rayfield
Open unit status Not open

EASC10008 Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences

BIOL20018 Computational Methods in Biology

EASC20029 Introduction to Field Mapping

EASC20047 Stratigraphy and palaeontology fieldwork

EASC30070 Evolutionary Palaeoecology in the field



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

A 20 credit point field course with the aims of providing students with the skills to interpret and understand the geological history of an area, and then put this knowledge to practical use in (a) designing a field guide that is pedagogically appropriate, and considers all safety, logistics and accessibility/inclusivity concerns; (b) executing the field trip professionally and safely (under staff supervision); (c) completing a reflective exercise identifying success and areas for improvement, and revising the field guide document appropriately.

The unit aims to enable students to acquire the field and analytical skills necessary for:

• Being able to critically evaluate evidence in the field and via relevant literature pertaining to the geological history of the area.

• Gain sufficient understanding of local geological history to devise a one-day field course for a cohort of students with a specified level of geological understanding (e.g. non-geological background or geological background to degree level).

• Gaining skills in delivering a field exercise, considering the pedagogic, safety and accessibility aspects of the field day. Delivering the field course, with appropriate supervision.

• Completing a reflection of written and field teaching exercises and learning objectives.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion students will be able to:

  • Identify the rocks and fossils of the area with sufficient clarify/success to deliver a teaching and learning exercise of a geological locality in the local area.
  • Evaluate geological evidence for major events in the geological history of the region.
  • Create a field guide comprising exercises that are pedagogically appropriate for the level of teaching to be delivered, identifying aims and learning objectives of the field trip, and recognising all logistic safety and accessibility concerns.
  • Understand what is required to deliver a field trip successfully and safety and gain the skills to deliver the trip themselves.
  • Conduct a reflection on their teaching exercise, identifying successful elements of the field exercise and where improvements can be made and making appropriate modifications to the teaching materials.

Teaching Information

Content will be delivered through a series of synchronous preparatory workshops in Bristol and through synchronous fieldwork. Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete field work, or alternative activities, in person, during the academic year in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

Coursework 100% comprising:

(1) A 2000 word written report comprising a field trip guide consisting of exercises to be completed by students of a particular geological ability on a one-day field trip. The guide must include: a description of the geology and palaeobiology of the students’ chosen study area; detailed description of the exercises to be undertaken; and also include logistics (travel and timetabling), safety concerns (tide times, a signed-off risk assessment) and accessibility arrangements (is the field trip design inclusive and accessible?). Full details and resources to complete the assessment will be provided. [70%]

(2) After executing the field exercise: a two-three page reflective exercise outlining what went well, what could be improved; and a revised field guide that incorporates these changes. [30%]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASCM0062).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.